Fresh faces and fresh hope. It is that time again when the Terrapins make their offers and the players say yay or nay. This year we are able to induce six brand new Terps players for the basketball team. They are, in alphabetical order, Seth Allen, Logan Aronhalt, Sam Cassell Jr., Shaquille Cleare, Damonte Dodd, Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell.
The man first on our list also happens to be the first new recruit of Mark Turgeon’s reign as Terps coach. Standing six-two, Allen played combo guard for Fredericksburg Christian in Virginia. Born in Fairfax, Allen is rated as a three star prospect by most talent sites such as 247sports.com and scout.com.
It has not all been plain sailing for the 17 year old however. Despite being Turgeon’s first pick he has had to overcome some big injury problems. During a December work out last year he broke a bone in his left hand. At first doctors thought it might end his career, but Allen took his medicine, worked on the hand and now his grip is improving day by day. He missed 13 games, but was able to help his school’s run to the semi-finals of his area’s post-season.
Last season Aronhalt played for Albany, scored 13 points and got six rebounds against the Terps, but Albany ended up losing by 11 points. For Aronhalt, it was inspirational. Never before had he played in front of such a great crowd, in such an atmosphere and against such a quality team. In short, he wanted part of the action. As the season ended he had a decision to make, where to finish his college basketball career? He chose Maryland. Aronholt, who graduated Albany with a 3.78 GPA and a major in biology, will now study on Maryland’s kinesiology program while playing for the Terps. With the Terps mostly relying on young new players, it will be down to veterans like Aronhalt to provide some leadership on the court.
Sam Cassell Jr.
For Sam Casell Jr. it was not about the study program necessarily or having played against the Terps earlier in his college career, for him, playing for the Terps has been a childhood dream. That dream has grown since he saw how excited Baltimore got when Maryland won the national championships in 2002. Back then he was just 9 years old, but the dream of helping his home state repeat that triumph stayed with him.
The 6-4 point guard was wanted in Florida and Pittsburgh and is rated a three-star prospect, but there was no way he was going to turn down the Terps. The Terps reckon Caseell will help pick up some of Terrell Stoglin’s points.
The Terps can now claim to have the Shaq, this time it is not O’Neil, but Shaquille Cleare. He has been amazed by how welcoming Terps fans have been on Twitter. Standing a mighty 6’8 1/2, the Shaq hails from the Bahamas and used to play for Village School in Houston before enrolling in Maryland. He’s looking forward to being the centerpiece of the Maryland team as well as playing alongside Cassell, Allen, Mitchell and Damonte Dodd. He’ll play 4 or 5 for the team. Clear is ranked a four-star prospect for the Terps.
Dodd, all six foot nine of him, signed up for the Terps back in February and knows Cleare from their All-Star game earlier in the year. Always a lanky fellow, Dodds added some muscle to his frame and turned from an awkward player to someone who is awkward to play against. Now he knows all about how to use his body, space and positioning on the court to win his team points. Expect big things.
Another hot prospect is small forward Jake Layman from Massachusetts. He is 6’8, 195 pounds and has a good reputation, plus relatives in Maryland who helped him know all about that 2002 national championship. He is also rated a four star prospect, so it is a little strange to see the Terps as one of the last colleges to approach Layman about playing for them. Lucky for them then, that he’d not made a decision and gone somewhere else. Before joining up with the Terps, Layman will be competing to get into the U.S. national U-18 team next month.
Yet another four star prospect is power forward Charles Mitchell from Atlanta, Georgia. The 6’8 forward weights in at 265 and if he slims down a little, will be an able back up to senior power forward James Padgett. When not playing he is sure to be the kind of character that gets people going and gets them smiling. With prospects like these seven new Terps, good weather between games, it makes you want to get a nice chopper, renew that motorcycle insurance, and get out on the highway for some awesome touring come the new basketball season.
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